Sunday, March 3, 2013

From Acts to Revelation Part 66 – The Sanhedrin

From Acts to Revelation
Part 66  – The Sanhedrin
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

A quick review of where we are.

Paul, called by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem, arrived at the feast of the Passover, and after speaking with the Jerusalem council, lead by Jesus' brother, James the Just, Paul agreed to take the Nazarite vow to calm tensions between the followers of Christ and the Jews.

While preparing to take the vow, a riot broke out in the Temple over Paul's appearance in the Temple, and the Roman guards had to break up the riot, and took Paul prisoner.

Paul asked if he could speak to the Jews, and was allowed to, which only broke out into another riot when he said that God had called him to speak to the Gentiles.

The Captain of the guard commanded Paul be beaten and questioned, at which time, they find out Paul is a Roman Citizen, and so he was released into protective custody. The captain, still wanting answers, takes Paul to the Sanhedrin the following morning.

Before the Sanhedrin, Paul exclaims that he is being held because of his belief in the resurrection. Sadducees in the Sanhedrin do not believe in resurrection, spirits or angels, but the Pharisees do, and an argument breaks out.

The captain of the guard, once again takes Paul into protective custody.

 That night, the Lord speaks to Paul and tells him to have courage. Just as he testified about Jesus in Jerusalem, now he will do so in Rome.

Today we will see how the Jews plot to kill Paul, and how their fear had turned to hate, which caused them to sin.

Acts 23:12-22
 The next morning some Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.”
16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.
17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him to the commander.
The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”
19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”
20 He said: “Some Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.”
22 The commander dismissed the young man with this warning: “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.”

a.      vs 12 LIT "And day having come, certain of the Jews having made a concourse, did anathematize themselves, saying neither to eat nor to drink till they may kill Paul."
i.       anathematize: verb, meaning Curse or Condemn

b.     More than 40 men were involved in this plot.
i.       They also included "the chief priests and the elders"

c.      The Plot was simple
i.       LIE to the Roman Captain to get Paul transported back to the Sanhedrin
ii.    With FULL KNOWLEDGE these men would wait in the shadows to murder Paul
a.      Two of the very commandments they are supposed to be teaching and living would be broken here.

d.     The difference between KILL and MURDER
i.       The LITERAL Hebrew translation states in the 10 commandments, that thou shall not commit MURDER.

ii.    To kill is a different matter all together.
a.      God commanded armies to kill in battle
b.     We may "accidentally" kill someone
c.      In scripture, accidental killing was met with fines.

iii. We are told in scripture that we ARE supposed to protect our families, property and homes;
a.      “If a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; but if it happens after sunrise, the defender is guilty of bloodshed". ~ Exodus 22:2
1.      If it takes place in the dark of night, you would not be guilty of killing the thief, but in the daylight, you would, simply because in light of day, you would be able to identify the thief, and the legal process would take care of restitution and punishment of the thief.

b.     In 1 Samuel 25 we read that EVERY MAN wore a sword to protect themselves when it was required.

c.      David writes in Psalms 144:1 "Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle."

d.     Even Jesus told the Disciples in Luke 22:35-38 " Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That’s enough!” he replied.

e.      Has the time come, as Jesus said, when we need to take up sword and protect ourselves from transgressors? The evil in this world says, YES!

e.      We are NOT to be violent, murder, or live violently, striking first!
i.       God expects us to defend our families, property and homes, however, scripture warns us against being violent and aggressive.
a.      We are NOT to live violently! - Psalm 11:5 " The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates."

b.     We are NOT to live murderously!

c.      And we are NOT to live aggressively!
1.      biblically literate skeptics are going to cite Matthew 26:52-54 – how Jesus responded when Peter used his sword to cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest: "Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"

Read those verses in context.

Jesus told Peter he would be committing suicide to choose a fight in this situation – as well as undermining God's plan to allow Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection.

Jesus told Peter to put his sword in its place – at his side. He didn't say throw it away. After all, He had just ordered the disciples to arm themselves! The reason for the arms was obviously to protect the lives of the disciples, not the life of the Son of God. What Jesus was saying was: "Peter, this is not the right time for a fight."

a.      What caused these Jews and the Sanhedrin to want to murder Paul?
i.       ANGER - James 1:19,20 " My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."

b.     If we allow Anger to grows into SIN
i.       Ephesians 4:26,27  “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

c.      If we hold onto ANGER, it can grow into SIN
i.       And when it grows into SIN, the Devil now has a foothold and can manipulate up in our lives, because we are essentially living in that SIN.

d.     Romans 2:5-8 " because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

e.      This was the course for the Jews and the Sanhedrin
i.       They allowed their ANGER towards Paul to turn into SIN, and they LIVED that SIN by plotting to LIE and MURDER Paul.

ii.    This was a purely SELF-SEEKING act, because they REJECTED THE TRUTH Paul was teaching, and they CHOSE to follow EVIL!

a.      How can we avoid allowing our ANGER to cause us to live in SIN?
i.       The scripture tells us how;
a.      Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
b.     Do not be STUBBORN
d.     Do not be SELF-SEEKING (selfish or self-centered)
e.      Do not REJECT the TRUTH of SCRIPTURE
f.       Do not FOLLOW EVIL

b.     It was FEAR which first came to the Jews and Sanhedrin

i.       Jesus WAS the Messiah
ii.    Paul spoke the TRUTH
iii. There WERE angels, spirits and an after-life (the Sadducees)
iv.   They would no longer be in CONTROL or CHARGE of the people

All of these fears in the Jews and Sanhedrin lead to their ANGER towards Paul and followers of Christ.


They allowed their FEAR to

a.      Fester and they let the sun go down while they were still angry, 27 and give the devil a foothold.
b.     They remained STUBBORN
c.      They refused to REPENT IN THEIR HEART
d.     They were SELF-SEEKING (selfish or self-centered)
f.       and decided to FOLLOW EVIL, and plot to kill Paul

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!